More Threats in Chess

I haven’t been keeping the notebook up because for the past few weeks my chess training has become very simplistic.

1. I continue to practice tactics on chesstempo.com until I get 3 incorrect answers which usually takes 15-20 minutes.  Solving tactical puzzles in this fashion is based on David Pruess’  New Way of Training Tactics.

2. I am playing more often, and when I do I am focused on the threats on the board.

3. I’m not reading any books right now, but I am reviewing my played games and addressing any deficiencies by referring to reference manuals. For example, if I lose a King and pawn endgame I’ll refer to Mueller’s Endgame Fundamentals book and so on.

I feel that this threat based play is helping my game out, and I have posted a 2nd part to the original threats post on begin chess and more will be coming shortly as I experiment with my new found thought process.

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Threats in Chess

I have been away for a few months, in which time I have been through a long plateau and a bout of chess related self-doubt. The reason for the self-doubt is that I feel that I should be at a different playing level than that which I am (1300 USCF), and I am a bit frustrated that my chess improvement efforts have reaped little fruit in the past few years. In a way, this self-doubt has caused me to rethink the way I play and study chess, and hopefully these changes will cause real improvement in my playing strength. I have several posts that I have been working on that address some of my doubts and how I plan on addressing them, this post is the first of a series.

read more at Beginchess

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Working Out The Kinks Pt. II

Tuesday 10/12/2010

Today is the second day of the new training schedule, I really did not have a lot of time to either plan or spend studying so I will have to give this second day more thought in the near future.

  • Spent 15 minutes doing Step Method tactics
  • Spent 30 minutes solving endgame puzzles on chesstempo.com
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Working Out The Kinks

I feel ready to get back to my chess training this week, and I am planning on using this week to revamp my training schedule based on the observations I made on my beginchess blog.

  • Spent 15 minutes doing tactics on the chesstempo site. Tactical training will continue to be a key component of my training.
  • Using a physical board, I setup 4 positions from Khmelnitsky Chess Exam, and I worked them out by writing down my evaluation and analysis on paper. I tend to quit the analysis without validating once I feel I have found the right move, and this is usually a bad idea. I must validate my analysis.
  • Played over Botvinnik – Stoltz 1926 using Chessgames.com’s Guess the Move feature. I made sure to have Botvinnik’s One Hundred Selected Games nearby, in case I had any questions about moves that were actually played.
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Psychology of Chess Weaknesses

The path to chess improvement lies in finding your weakest area of knowledge and placing all of your effort into converting it into a strength. My greatest weakness is an apprehension, bordering on fear, of delving into deep calculations and analysis. This analytical deficiency affects both my combinational and analysis in over the board play , and unless I work to improve these skills, any future chess improvement will be difficult. You tend to avoid or procrastinate working on your weakest area and this is part of the reason why you lack proficiency, since you do not exert the necessary effort in mastering the material that gives you trouble.

Read the rest of the article on beginchess.com.

NOTE: I will be posting my training modifications based on the article above in the next few days.

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Training Update Week of 10/4/2010

I have not kept up the training program as of 9/27/2010. I have continued to do 20-30 minutes of tactical puzzles either on chesstempo.com or from the Step Method CD and I am playing a few correspondence games and a daily G30 games during my lunch break. I was feeling overtrained, and taking off  1-2 weeks is a good way to stave off training plateaus.

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Training Schedule Week of 9/27/2010

For the past two weeks I have had a difficult time sticking to the schedule, and while my performance at chesstempo has improved over the past few weeks it has become difficult to squeeze in 1 full hour of training. I wrote about training plateaus on my beginchess.com blog, and I think I’m coming accross another plateau at this time. One of the things that came out of the article, was to frequently change your training. In strength training the P90x system changes things around every 30 days, so this is what I need to incorporate into my training program. I have been performing essentially the same training routine since 7/8/2010 and I am overdue for a change…which I’ll have ready for next week’s training schedule.

Monday 9/20/2010
Tactics
The Middlegame Euwe (pg. 87-90)

Tuesday 9/21/2010
Tactics (Step Method)
Continue reviewing rook and pawn Endgames (pre-lucena / pre-philidor positions)

Wednesday 9/22/2010
Tactics
Analyze game

Thursday 9/23/2010
Tactics
Stoyko Exercises

Friday 9/24/2010
ChessTempo Endgame Puzzles


Saturday 9/25/2010
Tactics
Play & analyze standard game

Sunday 9/26/2010
Review openings {Colle}
Review Master game (Logical Chess Move by Move Game(s) 19)

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Training Schedule Week of 9/20/2010

I did not have the time to setup the schedule for the week of September 13th, and my training has been unfocused to say the least. I have played a few games, and I have definitely done my tactics training, but I have neglected most of the content from the books that I am currently reading. The strange thing is that my chesstempo score has jumped from 1666 to 1747 in the past week…go figure. I do have a couple of comments and modifications I want to add to the training schedule which I mention below:

1. Analytical Training – Set up 0-1 star difficulty positions from Imagination in chess on a board and perform Stoyko Exercises.

2. Opening Study – Spend approximately 1 hour per week working on my repertoire. This will consist of going through games where the openings in my repertoire have been played.

3. Step Method Tactics Training – It’s usually more convenient for me to practice my tactics via chesstempo.com, but I have to concentrate on finishing step 4 of the Step Method tactics.

Monday 9/20/2010
Tactics
The Middlegame Euwe (pg. 84-86)

Tuesday 9/21/2010
Tactics (Step Method)
Silman’s Endgame Course Ex. 10-12

Wednesday 9/22/2010
Tactics
Analyze game

Thursday 9/23/2010
Tactics
Stoyko Exercises

Friday 9/24/2010
ChessTempo Endgame Puzzles
Review Rook and Pawn Endgames (pre-lucena / pre-philidor positions)

Saturday 9/25/2010
Tactics
Play & analyze standard game

Sunday 9/26/2010
Review openings {Colle}
Review Master game (Logical Chess Move by Move Games 17-18)

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Training Schedule Week of 9/6/2010

Monday 9/6/2010
Tactics
The Middlegame Euwe (pg. 77-80)

Tuesday 9/7/2010
Tactics (Step Method)
Silman’s Endgame Course Ex. 4-6

Wednesday 9/8/2010
Tactics
Analyze game

Thursday 9/9/2010
Tactics
The Middlegame Euwe (Pg.80-84)

Friday 9/10/2010
ChessTempo Endgame Puzzles
Silman’s Endgame Course (ex. 7-9 )

Saturday 9/11/2010
Tactics
Play & analyze standard game

Sunday 9/12/2010
Review openings (defense against 1.d4) {did not do this last week}
Review Master game (Logical Chess Move by Move Games 15-16)

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Endgame Notes

King and Pawn Endgames

  • In a King and pawn vs. lone King, the weaker side loses if he can’t get his King in front of the enemy pawn. However, rook pawns often allow all sorts of exceptions due to the fact that there isn’t a file to the side of the pawn (which creates many odd stalemate possibilities).
  • You can gauge the result of an upcoming Trebuchet position this way: the side whose King can make first contact with the enemy pawn can force a winning Trebuchet.
  • King an two doubled pawns vs. lone King always win unless the pawn’s can’t be properly defended.
  • You can calculate the square of the pawn by drawing a diagonal extension from the awn to the end of the board; drawing a line from the side of the pawn to the edge of the board; connecting all the lines. The defender’s King can step into this square, it will stop the pawn, if  it can’t the pawn will Queen.
  • Outside passed pawns are a valuable commodity, since they pose a serious promotion threat.

Source: Silman’s Endgame Course pg. 139.

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